Hank Izquierdo: What Really Happened July 17, 1969?

The Oklahoma City '89ers hat-logo from back in the days, when they were a Houston AAA affiliate

From the Sporting News Baseball Guide 8/2/69:

 "Catcher-coach Hank Izquierdo of Oklahoma City was suspended for the remainder of the American Association season and fined $750 July 17 as the result of a bat-swinging attack on Tulsa catcher Ted Simmons the previous night.

The suspension and fine were announced by Association President Allie Reynolds, who had witnessed the incident from the press box at Oklahoma City's All Sports Stadium.
'It's the hardest chore I've had since becoming president of the league," said Reynolds. "It's a harsh ruling, I know, but we can't allow such an incident to become a precedent.'

The incident occurred in the eighth inning of Tulsa's 12 - 5 victory over the '89ers. Izquierdo had just scored one of two Oklahoma City runs and was clearing the plate area of a bat when he and Simmons exchanged words.

When Izquierdo advanced toward Simmons, the two engaged in a shoving match and Simmons suffered a bruised thumb in trying to wrest the bat from Izquierdo. Simmons hurt his thumb trying to wrest the bat from Izquierdo.
Izquierdo, in Organized Ball since 1951, was expected to return to his homer in Miami, Florida. The 38-year old Cuban suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound last winter in Miami, when the cab he was driving was robbed."


The 1983 One Year Wonder Card does not mention the incident with Simmons.


Sporting News' 1970 Guide puts it a little differently, though:

  Instead of being suspended for a "bat swinging attack on" Simmons, the Guide's article says that Izquierdo was axed "for his part in a bat-swinging fracas with Simmons." (Italics mine) And of course, Johnson and Wolff call it a "bat-swinging incident."
And SABR member Merritt Clifton wrote,
 Beyond that, Izquierdo was a 38-year-old career bush leaguer from Cuba whose big league chances were probably damaged by segregation and Cuban politics; Simmons was a 19-year-old can't-miss prospect en route to a Hall of Fame caliber major league career (even if he has not been elected yet), and there might have been a certain amount of perhaps unrecognized personal jealousy involved.
Izquierdo spent the remainder of his career (five seasons) bouncing around the Mexican League.

Izquierdo's Two Seasons in an '89ers Uniform
Season TeamLeague Avg. HR RBI
1968 Oklahoma CityPacific Coast .255 0 17
1969 Oklahoma CityAmerican Association .261 0 12


In addition to Mr. Clifton, Thanks also to SABR member Steve Smith

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